Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Enjoy the freedom of being UNREACHABLE: Take a daily smartphone break!

White Wildflower at Norman Levy Park
I had an epiphany at my morning meditation class today. At the end of the class which is held at our local library I heard the sound of a dog barking. It turned out to be someone's cell phone ringtone.  Sometimes my smart phone feels like a pavlovian dog. I jump everytime it rings, beeps, bells, and vibrates. We have all put ourselves on call 24/7 being available to the next facebook update, tweet, email, emergency, text, and phone call. When did we all become on call doctors to one another. The stress of being available to everyone all the time makes us jump when our phones vibrate!

 I was thinking about what activities get me to turn off my phone. I turn off my phone for meditation class, for orchestra rehearsal, when I am at a play, or a movie. This got me thinking, I got that aha moment of clarity. I should turn off my phone when I am enjoying being out with my friends, at family gatherings, on my walks on the beach, or hikes in nature. So I can enjoy that beautiful white wildflower blooming without distraction. I want to enjoy that feeling of freedom.

I should enjoy more of these moments with out the constant updates. I can catch up electronically later. I need to stop letting my smart phone hyjack me of enjoying the NOW.  Maybe I should plan a daily smart phone break.

I remember growing up as a kid -  there were no cell phones. We went out and enjoyed our moments with friends. We had change for a payphone for an emergency. We went to the park, or the beach where no one could reach us. We enjoyed just spending time with each other, laughing, being outside being free. We were for that moment UNREACHABLE!

Start planning your UNREACHABLE smart phone break. Experience this feeling even if its only for 15 minutes. You can always be updated later. Take back that feeling of freedom, and enjoying the moment! I am so grateful for that barking ring tone for giving me the courage to disconnect and enjoy more UNREACHABLE MOMENTS!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Sharing Thanks for a one minute beach break!

I am so thankful to live 15 minutes away from the beach. It was a beautiful morning for a beach walk. I love to go to Jones Beach during the week for a relaxing walk. I usually walk one mile on the boardwalk and then head down to the shoreline for the walk back. I love listening to the soothing sounds of the ocean, while cooling off by getting my feet wet. I love looking for shells, smooth stones and beach glass. I love the tranquility of just listening to the waves roll in. I breathe in the sea air and the energy of the sun. It is such a wonderful way to start my day. I took this small video this morning to share my beach moment. Watch the video for a one minute beach break. Just relaxing and breathing for one minute will rejuvenate you!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sharing Thanks for walking the High Line in Spring in NYC

Thanks to the stranger who took this picture of me and my good friend
I love Spring in Manhattan. Although I live in the suburbs one of my favorite things to do is to spend a Saturday in New York. I love exploring the city. I am lucky to know kindred friends to share in my NYC adventures. One of the best free things to do in the city is to walk on the High Line. We took the train into the city and got on the High Line on 32nd street and 11th ave. The high line offers great views of the Hudson River. At one point you can actually catch a glimpse of Lady Liberty! I love all the public seating, installation art and beautiful architecture you see on this trail. I love that you are above the traffic and the new perspective from being elevated. It was wonderful to celebrate this top ten Spring Day with a good friend. I love this picture a stranger took of us with all the wonderful spring pinks and greens. At the end of the Highline you can see the new Whitney Museum building and all the great restaurants in the meatpacking district. I treated myself to a lobster roll at the fun Gansevort Food Market.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Sharing Thanks for reading what's on My Bookshelf: March Reads "10% Happier" by Dan Harris and "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? By Mindy Kaling

I am always thankful to read a good book. So I am going to add a new feature to Sharing Thanks. Every month I am going to share what books I'm reading! These selections are books I fell in love with over the month. They either provided me with inspiration, comedy, or wild imagination. I love reading while I'm soaking in a hot bath. I also love to read while I am waiting. I am happier waiting if I have a good book. It turns down time in to a learning time for me!

This month I loved reading, "10% Happier" by ABC Nightline reporter Dan Harris. 

Don't we all want to be at least 10% Happier. This is a great read as Dan Harris has interviewed many self-help gurus over the years like Eckart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, and even the Dalai Lama. I enjoyed reading about how Dan Harris started practicing meditation. He has some great instructions in the appendix of his book about beginning a basic mindfulness meditation practice, as well as how to do walking meditation, and compassion meditation. I enjoyed trying some of his exercises. I attend a weekly library meditation group in our town, and it may be the most relaxing hour of my week. It energizes my positive thinking.

If you are looking for a good laugh , I recommend Mindy Kaling's hysterical ,"Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?"

I began reading this book on my Kindle when I went to Chicago to visit my daughter Liz. I hope my giggling on the plane was appreciated. (Maybe Not) I loved reading about her passion for comedy growing up. Her honesty about the difficulties in starting out in a creative field rang true with me. My daughter Becky is a recent liberal arts film/theater/music major trying to find that first job.  True artists try to create while they are paying the bills and it is original creative work that gave Mindy Kaling her big break to be a writer for "The Office" I loved reading about her friendships and quirkiness.  

I love to read. Please share some books that your thankful for reading this month in the comments. I love good book suggestions

If your interested in purchasing these books, just click on the picture of the book for an easy link to buy from amazon.com! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Grateful for good neighbors learning ASL

Sharing thanks today by sharing a video my deaf daughter shared with me in a link last week. Since she sent it to me, it seems to have gone viral and I have seen it on the Huffington Post. Having a disability cuts you off from people when you don't speak the same language. How wonderful that this man's neighbors would gather and take the time to learn ASL, to give this man a day he does not expect, We all need to find ways to connect with one another. Enjoy the video and be a good neighbor!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sharing Thanks for music lessons in Ethan Hawke's heartfelt documentary, "Seymour:an introduction"

I am so grateful to the 92nd Street Y for showcasing "Seymour: and introduction" in their reel pieces screening and talks. Seymour is about retired concert pianist Seymour Bernstein, who continues teaching lessons to students and master classes at NYU's Tisch school for the arts. I got to share this amazing experience with my good friend and musician Liz. The piano score in the movie is breathtaking. The film documents the emotional experience that music offers to us all. Ethan Hawke's direction to tell Seymour's story and impart his wisdom about how practicing a talent carry's over to the discipline and values we hold dear in our personal lives. Below are 4 lessons I learned in watching this brilliant portrait of an artist.

  1. Finding and practicing your talent is part of the purpose of your life.
  2. Excellence comes from much practice and study. When we listen to an artist perform we need to appreciate the practice and courage that has been done to get a flawless emotional performance.
  3. There is honor in leading a simple life where you use your talent to coach emerging artists
  4. Teaching can be done in a patient and supportive manner, yet still strive for excellence
The movie opens in New York March 13 at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and the IFC center. Enjoy this beautiful film and meeting the sharpest 88 year old I have ever encountered.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Ten Easy Gratitude Habits

Gratitude is scientifically proven to make us happier. I've put this Top Ten List together to help jumpstart your gratitude habit! This new thankful attitude will help your mind focus on the little joys available to all of us everyday. These suggestions are easy to do! Share your experiences in adapting some of these thankful habits.

  1. Wake up Thankful: When you open your eyes, Say thank you, thank you, thank you! You are alive, and the new day is filled with possibilities for you!
  2. Take time to stop and smell the coffee! Take the time to breathe in the sweet aroma of a cup of coffee, or home made blueberry muffins. 
  3. Enjoy your morning shower. Is there anything better than clean hot water streaming down on you, especially on these cold winter days. Be thankful for the clean water we have.
  4. Take a gratitude break. Incorporate a 1 minute break by taking a deep cleansing breathe and think of something your thankful for in this small moment of peace.
  5. Give thanks for your food before you eat. As you sit down to enjoy a meal, say a quick thanks. Be thankful for the food your about to eat. Be thankful for the cook who prepared your meal. Savor the taste of what your eating. Enjoy the feeling of being satisfied.
  6. Give someone a geniune compliment! This is an easy way to thank someone for making your life a little easier or more joyful. Say thanks to the stranger who held the door for you, Say thanks to a family member who made you a cup of tea. Be grateful for the small gestures we are given daily by our friends, family and coworkers!
  7. Take a picture of something that made you smile today and tweet it to #100ThankfulDays. When I am coming out of the grocery store and look up and see a pink sky, even a parking lot can look beautiful. Taking a picture of moments of joy and wonder and saving them will give you a window of what you value in life. These pictures will make you smile again when you look at them.
  8. Send a thankyou note. Writing a thankyou note, or even a thank you email, tweet, instagram, facebook post will make that special someone feel appreciated. It is important to give personal geniune thanks to our families, friends, coworkers, companies. Everyone enjoys having their efforts recognized.
  9. Write a short gratitude list before you go to bed! Review the positive aspects of your day. This is a wonderful way to reflect on what was good today. It helps us focus on life's small joys and let's us cope with bumps in the road as well. 
  10. Share your gratitude list with a friend. Sharing gratitude will double the joy. By sharing our blessings we learn whats important and joyful for our friends. We also learn from other people's gratitude experiences of new ways to be grateful!